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  • I read a lot, and I have a lot of opinions, so I can't believe I haven't made a list like this before. If you are even a little bit like me or you want to get a peek into my psyche (you probs don't), these are the books to read.
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How I Did It

Posted on November 19th, 2012 by annakjarzab

Just dropping a line to say that the kind folks at Kirkus asked me to write an article about “How I Did It” – meaning, how I got published. The idea was for me to give my perspective as someone who both is published and works in publishing. It was really cool of them to ask me to do this (and to call me a “publishing insider”–if by that they mean “publishing gossip“, then yes, true dat/double true), and I had a lot of fun writing the article! You can find the full text here.

In other news, I’m in the final stages of writing TANDEM 2. It’s so weird to me that I’m on my way to a final version of the sequel to a book that hasn’t come out yet and won’t for another 11 months, but that’s the publishing machine for you. We work ahead. Most of the time. Hopefully. I’ve also been reading a ton of manuscripts for our fall 2013 launch here at my place of employment, which is always fun. I’ve just been reading a lot in general, so I’m planning on doing another book recommendations post soon, but I’m constantly putting “Things I’ve Read That I Loved” posts on my Facebook page, if you’re looking for a good book to read right this minute.

 

TANDEM synopsis!

Posted on October 22nd, 2012 by annakjarzab

I’m not a very patient person, which is annoying, because half of being a published writer is just sort of waiting around for things to happen or people to get back to you or whatever. But I’ve been trying to be better about this as part of a whole self-improvement-before-30 thing. It’s going okay I guess? Anyway, I was trying not to spend the few months leading up to the publication of The Opposite of Hallelujah by talking incessantly about Tandem, which comes out October 9, 2013. I’m so out of control excited about Tandem, but it seemed gauche to ignore Hallelujah (which I also do love, don’t get me wrong!) and keep jabbering about Tandem. Now that The Opposite of Hallelujah is out, though, I feel no such compunctions and therefore I’m going to share the synopsis with you today–because I can! If my self-improvement-before-30 thing was working better, I’d wait until I got the go-ahead to show you the Tandem cover/full jacket, which are SO COOL and YOU WILL DIE and then you will have to order Tandem from Amazon.ghost to read it, but it would be WORTH IT because OMG.

But it’s not working and I’m still impatient and I want to tell you what Tandem is officially about so here it goes:

Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather’s stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real–until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she’ll be trapped in another girl’s life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love–one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she’s someone she’s not.

The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing–and no one–is what it seems.

As Ryan Lochte would say, “Jeah!” More soon!

 

The Opposite of Hallelujah is available now!

Posted on October 19th, 2012 by annakjarzab

I really should’ve posted this on, like, October 9 when the book actually went on sale, but I didn’t. Cool story! I’ve just been very busy lately, which I know is a lame excuse because how often does a book you wrote come out? Not that often! At least, not if you’re me. That’s all about to change, though, with TANDEM coming out on October 8, 2013 (THAT IS RIGHT! JUST ONE YEAR BETWEEN BOOKS! I AM A MACHINE LOOK AT ME GO!) and Books 2 and 3 in the Many-Worlds Trilogy following close on its heels with a nine month pub schedule (so Book 2 will be July 2014 and Book 3 will be April 2015–PROBABLY).

It’s taking all the strength I have not to barrel forward and tell you all about TANDEM, which is a project I’m extremely excited about. If you want a sneak peek, the official synopsis is now up on Goodreads. Right now, though, it’s all THE OPPOSITE OF HALLELUJAH! I’m proud of this little book (okay, it’s not little, it’s actually pretty ginormous–almost every review I’ve seen has pointed out how long it is, although usually in the context of “It didn’t feel that long!” or “I wish there’d been more!” which is definitely the context in which you’d like to hear that your book is a bit zaftig), and people seem like they’re enjoying it. Below are some of the extremely nice things people have been saying about THE OPPOSITE OF HALLELUJAH. I’m really quite overwhelmed and humbled by the positive response to this book!

Purchase THE OPPOSITE OF HALLELUJAH from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, or your local independent bookseller.

“I adored this novel’s sharp voice and sweet romance. Just wonderful!” – Courtney Summers, author of This is Not a Test*

“Jarzab packs a lot into this story—questions of faith and forgiveness, science and religion, mental illness, guilt and possible redemption, as well as simple high school drama. But at its heart, this is a story about sisters, and it’s as complex and convoluted as the relationship itself…Couched among the issues are truly likeable people: intelligent teenagers supporting each other through good times and bad; loving, very human parents struggling with how to intervene in the life of a seriously ill adult child, while nurturing their teenage daughter; and a science-nerd priest who is honest enough to admit that he doesn’t have all the answers.” – Booklist, starred review

“Though the author takes many, many pages to reveal Hannah’s secret, it is time well-spent, providing nuanced characterizations of not only conflicted Caro, but of her troubled parents and her kindly, philosophical priest, Father Bob. It’s a rare teen novel that both tackles religion and creates fully realized adult characters, and Jarzab handles it all gracefully. A layered meditation on family and belief that will ring true for faith-questing teens.” – Kirkus

The Opposite of Hallelujah treatment of religion, belief, and religious people is almost perfect. Hannah’s reasons for joining, and leaving, are treated with respect and sympathy; the complexity of religious life is shown. Just as wonderful as the sensitivity with which The Opposite of Hallelujah treats the subject matter is the language…funny and insightful.” – Liz Burns, writing on SLJ.com [full review]

The Opposite of Hallelujah is Anna Jarzab’s sophomore novel, and it’s a memorable one…Months after reading this, I’m still thinking about Caro and Hannah. Although The Opposite of Hallelujah clocks in at over 450 pages, it is an absorbing read — Jarzab has a handle on her story and on her characters, and she anchors them both with great references and motifs throughout…Rarely do I think I’d like more of a book, especially a book already running long, but I would have read another 100 or so pages of this story to get even more out of the faith/grief experiences of both girls. In many ways, this book reminded me of Sara Zarr, especially Once Was Lost, and I think there’s a lot here fans of Zarr’s books will enjoy. I’d be comfortable handing this to younger YA readers, as well as more mature ones. Jarzab gives readers on both ends of the spectrum a lot to chew on.” – Stacked Books [full review]

“I loved this book. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to give a relgious book a try but is afraid of a preachy message. But even if you aren’t interested in the religious aspect, I recommend The Opposite of Hallelujah, since it’s a great sister story and realistic coming-of-age book. With subtle but evocative prose and a main character who’s so real, The Opposite of Hallelujah is dark but ultimately satisfying.” – Paperback Treasures [full review]

“This is a story that I know that I will find myself re-reading and bullying people to read. Its one of my favorite books for the year and I really can’t recommend it highly enjoy.” – Ticket to Anywhere [full review]

“This book is a rare beast—a YA story about faith, honesty, and family that manages to be thought-provoking rather than preachy… I can’t tell you how delightful it was to read a book that features such a thoughtful heroine, and—while it does feature a lovely romantic subplot—allows her the space to wrestle with more interesting questions than who to go to prom with, or which (generally undead) suitor to choose. Caro’s family isn’t “fixed” by the end of The Opposite of Hallelujah, but her growth over the course of the novel left me feeling like there were few problems too complicated for this intelligent and open-minded young woman to resolve.” – Wordcandy [full review]

“I was completely blown away by The Opposite of Hallelujah. It made me cry and laugh in equal measure. Not only was it a truly spectacular stand-alone read, but it also left a lasting impression on me that will surely not fade away with time.” – Blook Girl [full review]

I’ve been very anxious for a new book from Anna Jarzab ever since I closed All Unquiet Things. I really loved that book and I haven’t read a mystery that captivated me as much since then. The Opposite of Hallelujah is very different than Anna Jarzab’s first book. Honestly, I was just a tiny bit worried that it might end up being a Religious Book, but I’m happy to say that it did not…If you like books about sisters and unique, but realistic relationships, you should definitely pick up The Opposite of Hallelujah.” – Pure Imagination [full review]

“The Opposite of Hallelujah is a touching story filled to the brim with emotions with a sweet yet rocky at times relationship and a strong narrator that I connected with.” – Blkosiner’s Book Blog [full review]

“I have not come across many YA novels that tackle the issue of religion and faith and Anna Jarzab does so with grace. The story is as much about loss, grief, and family as it is about faith, religion, and god. There are so many things that I liked about this story…Teens will be able to relate to any number of issues addressed in this novel. The religious aspect is not heavy-handed, preachy, or off-putting. Teens looking for books about faith will welcome this novel. Teens who enjoy books featuring family conflict and drama will also enjoy this book.” – YA? Why Not? [full review]

” This story was not what I was expecting but absolutely loved it. A really great story about families, sisters and coming to terms with the past.  A fantastic book, I would highly recommend.” – Debra’s Book Cafe [full review]

*As Courtney Summers is probably one of my favorite YA writers, if not my absolute favorite, you can imagine how incredibly chuffed I was to have her blurb my book!!

Hats off to Rube

Posted on August 30th, 2012 by annakjarzab

Pawel (pronounced PAH-vel–it’s Polish, as is Pawel*), one of the secondary characters in The Opposite of Hallelujah and the love interested/boyfriend (that is not a spoiler) of the protagonist, Caro, is really into Rube Goldberg machines. His bedroom–as Caro eventually discovers–is full of these odd devices, which he builds out of K’nex (“Just so we’re clear, they’re not toys,” he says before he allows Caro into his room. “WHAT aren’t toys?” she asks in trepidation. Well, it made me laugh.).

Rube Goldberg machines, for those who aren’t familiar, are complicated machines that do very simple things. The best example I can think of that anybody’s ever seen is the board game, Mousetrap. You know how you build this whole contraption and at the end all it does is land on the mouse? Another great example is the music video for OK Go’s song, “This Too Shall Pass”, which really should be on the Opposite of Hallelujah soundtrack but weirdly isn’t. Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist who did all these illustrations depicting complex devices that, like, wipe someone’s chin with a napkin or whatever (real example). Inventing these machines is something real nerds like to do; Purdue University and UC Berkeley have national competitions every year. I like to imagine that Pawel will someday enter and win one of these competitions, when he’s in college.

I first learned of Rube Goldberg machines (I tried to get away with calling them simply “Goldberg machines” in The Opposite of Hallelujah, but my copy editor insisted I use his full name every time; I don’t like it, but I DO like accuracy, so…) from, of all things, an episode of The X-Files. Who am I kidding, that’s where I’ve learned roughly 57% of the things I know. The episode in question (“The Goldberg Variation”**) is from the seventh season and guest stars both Shia LaBoeuf (one of my fake boyfriends, ye ken) and Willie Garson, who played the lovable Stanford Blatch on Sex and the City. In that episode, Willie Garson’s character is an amateur inventor of Goldberg machines (ain’t nobody copy editing me in this blog post!) who accidentally stumbles into a lucky streak. There are many scenes in which Willie’s character narrowly escapes certain death at the hands of people whom he owes money by a series of improbable events reminiscent of a real live Goldberg machine.

The idea of having one of the characters be obsessed with Goldberg machines was something that came up in the process of writing the book, one of those magical epiphanies you yearn for as a writer and don’t often get. It’s something that, as a mere character quirk, would have gotten smothered by the various other, heavier goings-on in the book, so I’m glad I didn’t think of it before I started writing, or else it probably would’ve come off as silly. And in the hands of another character instead of Pawel–like, if Caro had suddenly developed an interest in them–it would’ve been one detail too many, kind of besides the point.

Instead, the Goldberg machines did a couple of things for me. First, they gave me a metaphor that worked on a few different levels (the machines, as Hannah points out, are a great way to think about the intricate causality of the universe–you could basically think of your life, and the lives of everyone around you, as one huge Goldberg machine, events causing other events causing other events and so on; they’re also an external manifestation of the overwrought goings-on in Caro’s head and heart regarding her feelings for her sister, and the machinations Hannah has undertaking to hide her personal tragedy from those who love her most). Second, they gave me a really organic way to show Caro’s character development and capacity for empathy (I cannot explain this further without spoiling). Not to mention that it shows both Caro and the reader a different facet of Pawel, in a series of scenes that provide both insight into his character and a counterpoint to Caro’s own life. Caro, God love her, starts off the book as pretty self-involved, not in a malicious way, but in a myopic, childlike way. It takes a while–and a lot of different mistakes and emotional confrontations–for her to really see the people around her. And once she sees them, she has to earn them. To do right by them, in whatever way she can. The Goldberg machines help her do right by Pawel.

*It’s the Polish version of Paul, which I knew, of course, but until this moment I hadn’t realized that it’s my second book with a character named Paul (Carly’s father in All Unquiet Things is also named Paul). Not intentional!

**I guess this is sort of a pun? The Goldberg Variations is a musical work for the harpsichord written by Bach and, I guess, first played by some dude named Goldberg (not related to our buddy Rube).

The Opposite of Hallelujah full playlist

Posted on August 24th, 2012 by annakjarzab

I’ve been posting YouTube links to a few of the important songs from my Opposite of Hallelujah playlist on my brand! new! Facebook! page! (I know, I know, you’re like, “Stop flogging the FB page, Jarzab, we get it. YOU HAVE A FACEBOOK PAGE.” Just making sure.) But I’ll tell you a secret–those are the only songs I can remember, because my new beautiful iPhone doesn’t even have the Hallelujah playlist on it because I got the phone after I finished the book. I had to power up my old iPhone to get to the playlist, which I’ve finally remembered to do! So, without further ado, here it is (could there be anymore OneRepublic on it?):

1. Wolfmother – “Vagabond”

2. Islands – “Switched On”

3. Jens Lekman – “The Opposite of Hallelujah”

4. OneRepublic – “Secrets”

5. Passion Pit – “Little Secrets”

6. Florence + the Machine – “Dog Days Are Over”

7. The Mountain Goats  – “Genesis 3:23”

8. Nicki Minaj – “Massive Attack”

9. OneRepublic & Sara Bareilles – “Come Home”

10. Radical Face – “Welcome Home”

11. Timbaland – “Marchin On (ft. OneRepublic”

12. OneRepublic – “Good Life”

13. Katy Perry – “Teenage Dream”

14. Chanta Kreviazuk – “Time”

15. Sara Bareilles – “King of Anything”

16. Uncle Kracker – “Another Love Song”

17. The Killers – “Human”

18. Bob Schneider – “Read Let’s Roll”

19. Rob Thomas – “Real World ’09”

20. Ingrid Michaelson – “Mountain and the Sea”

21. Adam Lambert – “Whataya Want From Me”

22. Sugarland – “Stuck Like Glue”

23. B.o.B. – “Magic”

24. Carrie Underwood – “Undo It”

25. Train – “If It’s Love”

26. Lady Antebellum – “I Run to You”

27. Eminem – “Love the Way You Lie (ft. Rihanna)”

28. Taio Cruz – “Dynamite”

29. Mumford & Sons – “Little Lion Man”

30. Wild Sweet Orange – “Wrestle With God”

31. Radical Face – “Wrapped in Piano Strings”

32. Ida Maria – “Oh My God”

33. Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson – “Relator”

34. Paddy Casey – “Saints and Sinners”

35. Eleisha Eagle – “Rocketboy”

36. Paul Freeman – “The Girl Who Broke In Two”

37. Paul Freeman – “Tightrope”

38. Caitlyn Smith – “Crushed & Created”

39. Natasha Bedingfield – “Strip Me”

40. MIKA – “We Are Golden”

41. Sara Bareilles – “Let the Rain”

42. Paul Freeman – “That’s How It Is”

43. Indigo Girls – “Galileo”

44. Robyn – “Hang With Me”

45. Ingrid Michaelson – “Parachute”

46. Matchbox Twenty – “How Far We’ve Come”

47. Marianas Trench – “Beside You”

48. Ingrid Michaelson – “Creep (Live)”

49. Emilia – “Big Big World”

50. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – “Home”

51. Rod Stewart – “Rhythm of My Heart”

52. Rod Stewart – “Ooh La La”

53. Sarah Mclachlan – “I Will Remember You”

54. Kim Wilde – “Schoolgirl”

55. Freelance Whales – “Hannah”

56. Ryan Calhoun – “Who We Are”

57. Vertical Horizon – “You’re a God”

58. The Verve – “Bittersweet Symphony”

59. Lily Allen – “Back to the Start”

60. The Belle Brigade – “Losers”

HALLELUJAH excerpt

Posted on August 20th, 2012 by annakjarzab

Just dropping by to say that a long-overdue excerpt of The Opposite of Hallelujah has now been posted here. It’s just Chapter One, but it’s a pretty long chapter. I’ve been posting smaller excerpts from elsewhere in the book on my brand new Facebook page, which I encourage you to check out. I’ve also been posting there about the epigraphs of All Unquiet Things and The Opposite of Hallelujah, links to songs from my Opposite of Hallelujah playlist with explanations of why they remind me of the book, and basically anything that strikes my fancy and is somewhat related to my books.

Also, I finished Ready Player One–I felt like the romance was a little weak and a lot of things were overexplained, but overall I super enjoyed it and recommend it to nerds around the world (and even non-nerds–my nerd cred is severely malnourished, and I still enjoyed the heck out of it).

Summer Reading

Posted on August 19th, 2012 by annakjarzab

Obviously, I love to read. Every year I set myself a goal of how many books I want to read and generally I surpass that goal. I’ve been inching up toward 100 books a year for a long time, but I’ve never quite made it. The goal is 90 (I just use Goodreads’ reading challenges to keep track–right now, I’ve got 66 that I can track, which Goodreads helpfully tells me is 10 books ahead of schedule), but I think I might make it to 100 or over this year.

Not that this is even remotely interesting to anyone, EXCEPT that the result is that I’ve read a lot of stuff and I’ve got some great summer reading recommendations! Without further ado:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I tried reading Outlander once a long time ago and I couldn’t for whatever reason get into it. Then Alex told me she was really digging the series and I agreed to give it another shot. Cut to me two months later, having devoured the first three books in the series (I would say that I enjoyed Voyager, book 3, as much as or even more than I enjoyed Outlander, which I loved) and bought the 20th anniversary edition of Outlander even though I already owned it on my Kindle. I’m about 34% through The Fiery Cross (book 5) and I’m liking it, like I have every other book in the series, but maybe a little less–it just seems to be a lot of unrelated events that don’t stitch together into much of a plot, but I know better than to doubt La Gabaldon, so I’m just going to reserve judgement till the end.

 

 

 

A Discovery of Witches & Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches was another book I tried to read a few times and gave up. I have no idea why. Sometimes I think I can get intimidated by length, especially on my Kindle, when your progress bar stays on 2% FOREVER. But anyway, I tried again several weeks ago and got sucked in. A Discovery of Witches can be most accurately described as Twilight meets Outlander–Matthew Clairmont (the male protagonist, super old but super hot vampire, etc.) is of the Edward Cullen mold, and Diana (female protagonist, fiesty witch, etc.) reminds me a lot of Claire from Outlander. I find the Twilight-y parts kind of distracting, but I really like the Outlander-y parts, so I tore through the first book and moved immediately on to the second Shadow of Night, which came out in hardcover just this past July. Shadow of Night is even more Outlander-y than Discovery of Witches, and I liked it even better. Both are very beach-friendly, melodramatic, fun reads. Highly recommended, though if you’ve just about had it with vampires you should probably skip them.

 

The Magicians and The Magician King by Lev Grossman

The theme of this list seems to be “I tried reading this before and I gave up and then I gave it a second try and I loved it.” Apparently that’s the kind of reading I’ve been doing lately. Anyway, the first time I tried reading The Magicians, I think I was just way too close to Harry Potter still (this was a few years ago) and it just felt derivative and self-indulgent to me. HOWEVER, when I revisited it a few months ago, because my friend Lauren had picked it for book club, I just about fell head over heels in love with it. This was a totally unexpected but very welcome outcome. Be warned: the main character, Quentin, is a self-centered, mopey asshole for all of book 1 and a lot of book 2. He can be incredibly infuriating, makes terrible choices at basically every opportunity, and blames everyone else for his problems. But he’s very realistic and relatable (at least, if you’re being honest with yourself), the story is so interesting and fun, the writing is really great, and that which bothered me upon my initial reading–the Harry Potter and Narnia references–were some of my favorite things upon this read. The Magicians toes the line between homage and parody very well and I can’t recommend the books more. I’m waiting impatiently for book 3!

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

I love romances. I just do. When a book doesn’t have kissing in it, or the potential for kissing, I get bored. I’m the opposite of Fred Savage in that way. I’ve never aspired to be a highly sophisticated reader, so this doesn’t bother me about myself, but thankfully romance is almost a given in YA, which I read a lot of because of my jobs. My Life Next Door is a book I actually picked up because we publish it at Penguin, upon the recommendation of my friend Mia. And I loved it so much you guys! I literally read it on the beach and between the sun and the sound of the waves and this wonderful, romantic book, I was probably as close to heaven as I’ll ever get.

 

 

 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I read Gillian Flynn’s second novel, Dark Places, on the recommendation of my agent many, many years ago and thought it was great (although I didn’t quite buy the solution of the mystery–otherwise, fantastic, and even that didn’t really bother me all that much)–sort of a modern, fictional In Cold Blood feel. Since I already knew I loved Flynn’s stuff, when Gone Girl published and people started talking about it all the time, I didn’t hesitate to pick it up myself and devour it in a short period of time. It’s just such a crazy, scary, compelling read, you guys. When I first picked it up and started it, I kept going back to the flap copy, really not understanding what the book was and why it was getting such big hype, and then–AND THEN–it totally turned around and slapped me in the face for my hubris at doubting it. You get to a point in the book where you literally cannot put it down. Best thing I read all summer, I think. I also read Flynn’s debut, Sharp Objects, which was freaky and disturbing, good and definitely a harbinger of better things to come, but in comparison to Gone Girl kind of underwhelming. Still, Sharp Objects is also really worth a read. All of Flynn’s stuff is. She’s an extremely talented writer, no doubt about it.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I originally heard about this book from Alex Bracken, who is good friends and critique partners with Sarah. High fantasy isn’t generally my jam, but I’m a big fan of Game of Thrones (the TV show; for some reason, I can’t really commit to the books) and having recently read Kristin Cashore’s Graceling and Bitterblue I was in a mood for more good fantasy. I was lucky enough to get a galley at BEA, and a few weeks ago I sat down and pretty much read it in one or two sittings. I love Sarah’s main character, Caelena, a teenage assassin who’s been brought to the palace of a tyrannical king to duel against a bunch of other criminals and killers for her freedom. Throw in a gruff but lovable captain of the guard (Chaol, <3 <3 <3), ancient magic, and palace intrigue, and it was the perfect YA summer read. It’s pretty clear just how much world building Sarah has done and how many stories still have yet to be told in the world of Throne of Glass–can’t wait till book 2! Until then, I’ll still have the four digital prequel novellas to whet my appetite.

The Diviners by Libba Bray

It seems kind of mean to write about books that aren’t available yet, but The Diviners comes out like September 4, which is not that long to wait. This is another title I was lucky to get a galley of, and it was the only thing I read during my Oklahoma vacation over Memorial Day (it’s a fat book, y’all). It is SO GOOD you guys! So detailed and well-researched and interesting and scary as HELL. Highly recommended historical paranormal thriller!

 

 

 

 

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

I could not speak high enough about my estimation of Courtney Summers’ talents as a writer and storyteller. This is Not a Test is her fourth novel, and, dare I say, best (although Some Girls Are will always have a special place in my heart). I’m not a zombie novel person (I read Warm Bodies and kept thinking, God, this is so great, if only it weren’t about ZOMBIES!), but for some reason that didn’t make any difference as to my enjoyment of This is Not a Test. It has Courtney’s trademark tight, effective writing, wherein every sentence seems so carefully thought out to pack a maximum punch. Her characters are, as always, pitch perfect, and her blending of real-world problems (familial abuse, abandonment by loved ones) and high concept ghoulies (the aforementioned zombies) is something I really haven’t seen anyone do quite to this level of achievement. Another home run, Ms. Summers.

 

 

 

At the moment I’m reading Ready Player One (already loving it; it’s got a Westing Game/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory type feel, but with video games and for adults, although I wish there was less detailed explanation, more stuff happening, but like I said, only 20% in at this point) and The Fiery Cross (as mentioned earlier, the fifth book in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series; it’s fine so far, hoping it picks up a little). Will check back in a few months from now with more reading recs!

I like you

Posted on August 14th, 2012 by annakjarzab

I’ll admit: I’m not great on Facebook, personally, for myself. I know a lot about it because I use it ALL THE TIME for work, but I rarely use it for myself–like, to communicate with/keep in touch with/stalk people–and I use it even more rarely for my books. But that’s all about to change! Because I’ve relaunched the Anna Jarzab Books Facebook fan page! I even did some design and coding work on it; at the risk of patting myself too hard on the back, I think it looks pretty snazzy. I’ve posted some outtakes from the ALL UNQUIET THINGS photo shoot on the page (which I poached from the photographer Eva Kolenko’s Tumblr) and the full version of the photo on the cover that even I’d never seen before recently! I’m also going to be putting up some sneak peeks (just a line or two) from THE OPPOSITE OF HALLELUJAH every day or so until October 9th, since THE OPPOSITE OF HALLELUJAH is less than two months from release now, which is BLOWING MY MIND.

It’s so funny, I can’t believe this is only my second book and it’s not even out yet. I’m in the middle of working on TANDEM 2 right now, and an adult book, so in my head I have about five books published–even though actually it’s just the one right now, soon to be two. I am excited to tell you, though, that TANDEM is going to be out in Fall 2013 sometime (no firm date yet, you know how these things go) with, I’m assuming, if everything goes smoothly, TANDEM 2 coming out in Fall 2014 and TANDEM 3 (THERE ARE GOING TO BE THREE!!! Probably) coming out in Fall 2015. But, obvi, who knows? I’ll keep you posted.

I really can’t wait to tell you more about TANDEM. I’ve seen the cover, which is GORGEOUS and THE BEST, but I can’t share it yet, not sure when I’ll be able to. No description, yet, either, except for what you already know, which is that it’s an epic romantic adventure set across parallel universes. I could write my own synopsis, except that I tried and it’s really hard and I gave up. Boo hiss I’m the worst. Instead, I’ll post some photos that helped inspire me while I was working on TANDEM to give you an idea of what it’s about. The below gallery is only a taste; visit my Welcome to Aurora Tumblr to see even more.

We’re all mad here

Posted on May 11th, 2012 by annakjarzab

I believe it was Bridget Jones who said, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.”

Maybe spectacularly to pieces is a bit of an exaggeration, but literally not a few days after my editor called to tell me she loves Tandem (cue huge sigh of relief here!), my roommate told me that she was moving to Atlanta. Then the monumental task of breaking my lease, finding a new apartment, and moving into that apartment lay before me. Moving in New York is basically an awful experience from soup to nuts. You really can’t start looking until about three weeks from the date you need to move in, and your options are…limited. Also, every one is a Shady McShaderson. Brokers are expensive and difficult to work with, apartments go in the blink of an eye, prices are high and apartments are tiny (you should see some of the places I looked at; the whole thing is absurd). I’ve done it twice before and it was a nightmare both times. I’m not looking forward to doing it again, and I’m feeling a little maddened by the enormity of the task.

So it’s been a little PANIC!! At the Disco in my headspace lately. At this point, the only thing keeping me moderately sane is the thought that Tandem, on which I have labored almost without ceasing for the last year and a half, is going to be a real book that you can read and hold in your hands by the fall of 2013!

Anyway, the good news is, it’s almost over. I move a week from Saturday, which is NOT A LOT OF TIME, but oh well. I’ve got an apartment now (a 5th floor walk-up, unfortch, but it’s a big studio with a great kitchen, close to many train lines including three express trains, and it’s alllllllll miiiiiiiiiine), the movers are hired, the super for my old apartment is showing my place to new potential renters, and it looks like it’s all going to be okay.

Below are some photos of my new place, if you’re interested. I’m sure those of you who live anywhere but New York are totally laughing right now at what I consider a “big studio”, but this is a town full of madness, and the real estate market is one of the best examples of that!

This one’s a bit fuzzy. That’s my broker in the upper left.

My new kitchen. It’s got a dishwasher and an actual fridge (you have no idea how many apartments I looked at with “efficiency” kitchens, aka mini-fridges).

Oh, God, in my head it looks so much bigger. Don’t worry, those are the only two windows in the entire apartment.

I’ve got another picture, but I don’t think you care to see the bathroom. I’ll take pictures after all my stuff is inside and arranged, so that you can see what it looks like when I’m all settled. As for now, trying not to freak out about how completely unpacked I am at this moment (like, I have NOT. PACKED. A. THING.) and telling myself it only looks small here because the pictures are tiny and from my iPhone. And that if it sucks and I hate it, it’s only for a year and then I’ll move to Brooklyn.

Seriously guys, New York sucks, don’t move here.

What’s up with you? Nothin’. What’s up with you?

Posted on February 28th, 2012 by annakjarzab

Does anyone love The Sweetest Thing as much as I do? Apparently not, because I tried to YouTube the “Nothin’. What’s up with you?” scene and I couldn’t find it. Which, honestly, makes me sad. Such an under-appreciated gem of a film. But I digress. (Can you digress if you haven’t started making your real point yet? I digress again.)

Anyway, hello there, faithful blog readers! I.e., Shannel, my darling college friend who dropped a comment on my last post just this morning saying that she missed my long, ridiculous ramblings on this here blog thing. What’s a blog, you say? It’s like Tumblr, but with less Hunger Games fan art. Well, you knew that, or you wouldn’t be here, I guess. THE POINT IS, some stuff has happened in these last few months, and I’d like to tell you about it. In great detail. With pictures to illustrate. Aren’t you excited?!?!

I guess the first piece of big news (which shows you how little I write in this blog nowadays, because this has been up on my Tumblr for months) is that The Opposite of Hallelujah has, in the order in which I received them:

  • A cover
  • A synopsis
  • A pub date/pre-order link(s)

The Cover:

So, without further ado, here it is!


I don’t have a lot to say about this cover except that I think it’s really beautiful. I’ve heard a lot about authors struggling with their publishers to get covers they feel represent their work, but I’ve honestly never had that experience with Delacorte. They sent me the All Unquiet Things cover and I loved it, had no changes. They sent me this cover, and I loved it to. There were two versions, one with my name in lower case and the title in upper, which I also saw, but my editor and I both preferred the version above. (And, actually, they sent me a THIRD cover that was completely different, although my editor explained it was only for my reference, since she didn’t like it and didn’t want to use it. It was pretty, but I didn’t feel strongly about it. Maybe someday I’ll get to show it to you!) So, my cover experience has been pretty boring; I write the books, they make the covers, I love the covers, they use them, we’re done! Sorry it wasn’t a more exciting story, but it’s a lovely cover, so we all win.

The Synopsis (jacket flap copy):

Caro Mitchell considers herself an only child–and she likes it that way. After all, her much older sister, Hannah, left home eight years ago, and Caro barely remembers her. So when Caro’s parents drop the bombshell news that Hannah is returning to live with them, Caro feels as if an interloper is crashing her family. To her, Hannah’s a total stranger, someone who haunts their home with her meek and withdrawn presence, and who refuses to talk about her life and why she went away. Caro can’t understand why her parents cut Hannah so much slack, and why they’re not pushing for answers.

Unable to understand Hannah, Caro resorts to telling lies about her mysterious reappearance. But when those lies alienate her new boyfriend, friends, and put her on the outs with her parents, Caro seeks solace from an unexpected source. And as she unearths a clue from Hannah’s past–one that could save Hannah from the dark secret that possesses her–Caro begins to see her sister in a whole new light.

Pub date/Pre-order link:

Yay! Wasn’t that synopsis intriguing? So The Opposite of Hallelujah comes out on October 9, 2012, according to Amazon. You can pre-order the book at Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or from your local bookseller via Indiebound.org.

I don’t have galleys* yet, but I’ll probably be getting them soon, although I’ll most likely get, you know, two of them. If I happen to get more, I’ll do a giveaway, promise! I’ll also let you know if the title ends up on NetGalley, if you’re of the sort who frequents NetGalley.

Other than that, I’ve just been working like a maniac at my day job and writing like a maniac at night and on weekends. I’m hoping to finish a new draft of my work in progress (Tandem, which I sold in a two-book deal to Delacorte last May or June or something) by late April. This will be the fifth draft. It is, by turns, incredibly fun and incredibly difficult to write, and it’s really teaching me the value of discipline, hard work, and perseverance. Ah, novels; making authors cray since the 15th century.

*Advanced copies of a book that are available in limited quantities for booksellers, media types, etc. about 6-8 months before on-sale.